Jodi Auborn Books

Interview Questionnaire of Jodi Auborn

  What made you decide to become a writer?

It's something that I've just always done since I was a kid. I've always had an overactive imagination, so my decision to become a writer wasn't really a decision at all. It just kind of grew. As I was growing up, I'd write stories and poems about places I wished I lived and situations I wished I could be in.

In high school, I had an English teacher who really helped and encouraged me with my writing. She made me feel that I really could do it.

  How long have you been writing?

Other than Elementary-School writing assignments, I began writing on my own at about nine years old, when I first started what was to become "Stormwind of the North Country." So I've been writing for well over half my life, off and on.

  Are you writing full time?

No, but I wish I could. I've always had schoolwork, or employment.

  What are the good and the bad of being a writer?

I'd say the best part of being a writer is that it's a way to capture and remember certain parts of my life. To share vicariously in my characters' adventures, and do things that I never had the chance (or the nerve) to do. For instance, as a kid, I often fantasized about running away into the wilderness with my horse - but never did. Many of my own feelings, memories of my times in the woods, and experiences with my horses come out in "Stormwind."

Other good parts of writing is that the characters become so familiar to me, like friends, that even today I can't say I'm lonely when I can join in their lives. It's nice to be recognized on the streets of my small town, to hear people tell me that they saw my picture or article in the paper. And it's fun to be able to right the world's wrongs in a way that I couldn't do in real life, to reward my heroic characters and punish the villains.

I think the worst part of being a writer is getting stuck with writer's block. That's really frustrating. And I can't fail to mention the rejection letters for "Stormwind." I have a whole folder of them, including one with a handwritten note that says that nobody reads horse stories anymore.

  You wrote the book Stormwind of the North Country. Can you tell me a little bit about your book?

"Stormwind of the North Country" is a coming-of-age novel for readers about 10 to 14 years old. The main character is a 14-year-old girl named Kat. She lives with her widowed father, Luke, and younger brother, Dave, in their remote Adirondack Mountain farmhouse.

After making a shocking discovery one morning, Kat struggles to rescue Stormwind, her favorite horse at a neighbor's stable, from its abusive owner. Then her father brings home an unwelcome visitor with a secret that could destroy the way of life that the family loves. This upsetting change sends Kat and her dog, Hesperus, running away on a month-long camping trip in the wilderness with Stormwind. There, she finds a true friend in Randy, a teenage drifter with a mysterious past. After an accident forces them to return to Kat's house, she must deal with the family problem she'd left behind, and help Randy overcome the memories of his troubled childhood.

  What influenced you to write Stormwind of the North Country?

The beginning of "Stormwind" actually came to me in a dream, so the next day, I wrote a short story based on it. At the time, I had no intentions of turning it into a book, and had no idea that that simple story would stick with me through so much of my life, as it evolved and added new characters and situations.

When I was about 12, my parents and I lived on a winding mountain road, surrounded by miles of forest. My favorite place to ride my horse was an old farm up the road, and it was here that I based Kat's house and property on. It had a big, rambling white farmhouse down a long dirt lane. There were rolling fields with giant sugar maple trees lining the road, a small pond near the house, and a view of the mountains in the distance.

The fictional town of "Sprucewood" is based on the small towns where I grew up, Hadley and Lake Luzerne, NY. Kat and Randy's lean-to at the pond is just like the ones you find today, built all along the Adirondack hiking trails. So, although all the people and events are fictional, writing the story was a way for me to revisit some favorite places from my childhood.

  How did you come up with the title to name your book?

The first title was "Me, My Brother, and American Courage." Her brother originally played a larger part in the story, and the horse's original name was "American Courage." I finished that draft when I was 11. I started re-writing a new one a couple years later, "You Can Call Me Kat." That's what it remained for years, until I found, on, that there were already books with titles that began "You Can Call Me…". I wanted my title to stand out more, and hopefully incorporate the horse, whose name was long ago changed to "Stormwind." Not long after that, "Stormwind of the North Country" just sort of came to me.

  What is the feeling you get knowing that your book is out there for the world to read?

It's a really satisfying feeling, knowing that it's out there for the world to read. It makes me feel good to know that total strangers are interested in reading and buying it. I often wonder what they think of it. One of the four area gift shops that are selling my book has visitors from all over the world, which makes me wonder how far Kat's story will spread.

  What makes you feel that Stormwind of the North Country is an excellent book to read?

"Stormwind of the North Country" is an excellent book for readers who enjoy stories about horses and adventures in the outdoors. It was written for a female audience, although boys might like Randy, Kat's 15-year-old male friend.

At its most basic, "Stormwind" is a story about good winning over evil. It touches on themes of friendship, animal welfare, and protection of the environment. Kat's journey in the mountains is about nature, freedom, and self-reliance. In her adventures at home and in the Adirondack wilderness, she learns that friendship and love will solve her problems. Love for her animals, her best friend, and the forest that surrounds her.

  Will you be writing more books?

This winter, 2009 - 2010, I plan to be working on the sequel. In this story, Jake, one of the adult characters from "Stormwind," is accused of a murder that he didn't commit. Kat, Randy and Dave help him hide from the police in a secret room in the house. But later when he's discovered, they all have to prove his innocence and track down the true criminal before he finds them. Kat's meddling Aunt Betsy (who first appears in "Stormwind"), and a corrupt cop stand in their way.

I also have a series of short stories, a couple novellas, several poems, and a comic strip that I hope to develop into books later on.

  Is there anything else you would like to add about your book?

In spite of the gray Arabian on the cover, "Stormwind" is more than just a horse story, once you finish the first four chapters.

Saturday, February 20, 2010 -

Interview with Jodi Auborn

First off, thanks so much for joining us for an up-close and personal interview for! My name is Jen, and I’ll be your server toda…oh, wait, wrong job! Anyway, thanks so much for taking time out of your writing schedule—which I’m sure is busy!—and answering a few questions for your readers and fans.

Hi Jen, I'm glad to be here.

Let’s get some of the typical interview questions out of the way first. When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was 9, I wrote what would later become the first chapter of Stormwind of the North Country. It was just a short story that was based on a dream I had. I had no idea that that simple story would become a part of my life, as new characters and situations came to my mind.

High school was about the first time that I really considered writing for a living. In my senior yearbook, I predicted that in ten years I'd be "a rich writer living on my own island with a horse and dogs." I'm not there yet, but it's still fun to dream about!

Can you tell us a little bit about your road to publishing?

Twenty-two years passed since I began Stormwind of the North Country: years of writing it on-and-off throughout high school and college. In 2000, I began sending it out to publishers and agents with nothing to show for it but about 25 rejection letters. By then I was running out to suitable places to send it, so I put the manuscript in my desk and forgot about it for awhile.

After I was laid-off from my job in December 2008, I decided to use my new free time to do a major re-write and revision of the manuscript. It was the perfect opportunity to make it a story that I could be proud of.

I submitted the final manuscript to Publish America after finding them on the Internet, and it was accepted within days. About two months later, April 2009, Stormwind of the North Country was officially released.

Tell us a little bit about either your latest or upcoming release. If you could only tell your readers one thing about the story that had to convince us to buy the book, what would it be?

In Stormwind of the North Country, readers can join Kat, her dog, Hesperus, and her rescued Arabian mare, Stormwind, in their adventures in the Adirondack Mountains. The summer that she is fourteen years old, Kat must protect Stormwind from abuse at a nearby stable, save her father's land from a greedy real estate developer, and help her best friend come to terms with his troubled past. When Kat runs away into the wilderness with Stormwind and Hesperus, she befriends a fellow runaway who ultimately saves her from a violent criminal. When they're forced to return to Kat's house, she must adjust to life in high school, and deal with the family problem she'd left behind.

Despite the gray Arabian on the cover, Stormwind of the North Country is more than just a horse story. Readers who enjoy stories about animals and outdoor survival and adventure would like this book.

What, or who, has been the greatest inspiration for your stories?

My greatest inspiration for this book was my life growing up in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains. When I was ten, my parents built a log cabin on a mountain road. Miles of forest surrounded our ten acres. Up the road was a big old farmhouse, in fields surrounded by the woods and mountains. That specific place inspired the setting for Kat's enormous old house. I only lived along that road for a few years, but I never forgot my time living there, and much of that comes out in my stories.

My experiences with my horses have also inspired much of my writing. The things I learned with my first horse, (which was given to me when I was twelve years old) and the one I have now (which I mention in the next question) gave me many ideas that make the descriptions of Kat's times with Stormwind more true to life.

Let’s hear about your family, who I’m sure are thrilled to have a published author among them!

I'm single and live about three miles from my mom, who is my biggest fan. And then there's Summer, my shaggy little dog, two cats, Honey and Rio, a tank of goldfish, and my old but still spirited Arabian/Quarter Horse gelding, Solomon.

I was an only child until age fifteen, when my half-sister was born. Now a teenager, she is also a writer. I suspect that we get that from our father, who tells the greatest campfire stories. They live in Florida with my recently adopted teenage brother, and my step-mother. I also have a step-brother in the Air Force, whom I haven't seen in several years.

Now for some fun facts. What’s your greatest comfort food?

Macaroni and Cheese - whether it's boxed or homemade, I love it all! I also can't resist a big plate of spaghetti, or fettuccine Alfredo - especially with shrimp.

What are the first three things you do when you wake up in the morning?

Stay in bed until the very last minute, then go turn on the computer, and eat a bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios.

If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?

The deer skull sitting on my closet shelf, which I haven't yet figured out how to hang on my kitchen wall.

Everyone asks the question about “if you could be a tree, which tree would you be?” so I want to know: If you could be a color, which color would it be, and why?

Since I love both the mountains and the ocean, I'd have to say both green and blue. Green, for nature and the forest. Blue, for the water and sky, to symbolize my summer vacations to Cape Cod as a teenager, and one special summer when I lived there near the sea. And both colors could represent my favorite vacation spot: Monhegan Island, ME.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Calvin and Hobbes. Also Garfield, who reminds me of one of my cats.

Which cartoon character is most like you?

Calvin again. Like him, I have an overactive imagination. I can relate to him daydreaming in school, and playing outside with Hobbes in their own little world, imagining themselves in weird situations.

If you could beam yourself to anywhere in the world (“Beam me up, Scotty!”), during any time in history, where and when would it be—and why?

Definitely the Old West, sometime in the mid-1800's. I could imagine myself living in a cabin that I built myself, growing my own food, and riding or driving a horse everywhere. I think I was born too late.

So what’s your favorite type of music to listen to? Favorite musical artists? Do you listen to music while you’re writing?

Although I enjoy (or can at least tolerate) most types of music, my favorites are folk and Celtic, classic rock, rock, country, classic country, bluegrass, and Christian. These are only a few of my favorites:

FOLK AND CELTIC MUSIC: Gordon Bok, Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Stan Rogers, Dougie Maclean, the Tannahill Weavers, Loreena McKennett, Archie Fisher, James Keelaghan, James Taylor, Cindy Kallet, Indigo Girls, Richard Shindell, Nickle Creek, Sarah McLachlan…

COUNTRY: Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Alabama…

ROCK: Journey, REO Speedwagon, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Train, Crosby Stills and Nash, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Five for Fighting, Creed, Nickleback, Third Day…

I don't listen to music when I'm writing; I can't concentrate. But sometimes I'll hear a song that reminds me of a certain character or story situation, and it helps me to think more deeply about them.

Do you have any favorite T.V. shows? Movies you watch over and over again? What was the last movie you saw at the theater?

I never miss American Idol. I also like Extreme Makeover - Home Edition, The Amazing Race, Cops, and reruns of Friends. And I get hooked into watching America's Next Top Model when they have the all day marathons of it. As a kid growing up in the '80's, my all-time favorite show was ALF.

My favorite movies are Titanic, (my best friend and I watched this over and over at the movies when it first came out) Forrest Gump, Big, Toy Story, Cars, Hoot, Mrs. Doubtfire, Secondhand Lions, Fried Green Tomatoes, Dances With Wolves, Nim's Island. And I thought that Mall Cop and the Shrek movies were hysterical.

The last time I was at a theater was before 2005, when I moved up here to my small town, which is a 90-minute drive from the malls. I think the movie I saw was Because of Winn-Dixie.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your teen readers. What would it be?

Have a dream for your life. Do something that makes you happy, even if it may not pay a lot of money.

One last question. What stories can we look forward to from you in the future?

I'm slowly working on the sequel to Stormwind of the North Country. When Jake, one of the adult characters from the first book, is accused of a murder that he didn't commit, Kat, her brother, and friend help him hide from the police in a forgotten secret room in their house. When he's discovered, they all must fight to clear his name and find the true criminal…without becoming his next victims.

I also have a series of short stories about the same characters: 10-year-old country boy Jack, and his best friend Rock, a former city kid who moved in up the road. Jack and Rock get into mischief and adventures when they capture an escaped convict, meet a mysterious hermit known as Old Man Jason, and much more.

Finally, I have Tugboat Tales, a lighthearted fantasy story about two homeless, landlubber brothers - responsible and straight-laced Amoelo, and carefree surfer Bruce - who end up living on a ramshackle old tugboat with a very…big…secret.

Again, thanks so much for joining us at!

Thank you for having me on your website!